Let them eat cake is a short story set before Black Dawn. In the story Eve & Claire make Shane a birthday cake. Shane then says that he does not like chocolate cake to upset Eve. Myrnin then decides to give Shane a birthday party at Commongrounds with the help of Amelie & Oliver.
Finding a coppy of this story is quite difficult.
Here is the story
"Let Them Eat Cake" - a Morganville story set before BLACK DAWN “I don’t know,” Claire said, looking doubtfully at the cake. The oven light was broken, and the rack wasn’t quite even, so the batter had run slowly toward the right side of the brownie pan; it was going to look more like a skateboard ramp than a festive dessert. Maybe they could make that work for them. “How can you tell when chocolate is done, anyway?”
“Well, here’s a tip, it’s not supposed to be crispy,” Eve said, and hip-bumped her out of the way. She donned massive oven mitts – where had she found some with cartoon vampires on them? Who made those? – and reached in to retrieve the cake pan, which she set on the burner. “It’s not supposed to be gooey, either.”
“Which is it?”
Eve stuck a toothpick in. Claire winced at the crunching sound it made as it poked through the top. “Bad news,” Eve said, inspecting the results critically. “It’s the worst of both worlds. Crispy and gooey.”
“Kind of like – a bon bon?” Claire said, with way too much hope.
“Yeah, those usually don’t make you gag, so no. Not like bon bons. Well, I guess we have to turn down the heat and bake it a while longer. Otherwise, when he cuts into it, its molten chocolatey guts will ooze out all over the plate.”
“Why would that be a bad thing?” Michael asked. He’d walked in and was sorting through mail without so much as glancing toward what they were doing. “It smells burned.”
“Yeah, thanks, Food Network, we’re all over it,” Eve shot back. She dialed back the oven temp and shoved the cake back inside. “Did you get it?”
Michael absent-mindedly handed over a grocery bag, and Eve dumped the contents on the counter. Icing – vanilla, because Eve had insisted that they make a reverse cake for Shane, chocolate inside, white outside, since Shane said (mostly to bother Eve) that he didn’t like chocolate so much. And … there was also a package of little green army men.
Eve lifted them and sent her boyfrie—no, new husband (Claire could not get used to thinking of him that way) – a raised-eyebrow look.
“You wanted decorations,” Michael said.
“He’s not six.”
“He is on the inside.”
“Well …” Eve thought about it for a second, then brightened. “Oh, good, you got the Oreos. Crumble them up and make dirt out of them.”
“Dirt,” he repeated, but she was already shaking them into a baggie, zipping it shut and handing it to him. “You know, I really don’t get you sometimes.”
“I know.” Eve sent him a sunny, lopsided smile, made all the more cute by the Death Bunny t-shirt she was wearing. Death by cute. That was Eve, through and through. Her dimples deepened as Michael, staring at her intently, started crushing the hell out of the Oreos, rendering them pretty much dirt-like in three seconds flat.
“I love it when you flex your muscles,” she said, and took the baggie out of his hands. Michael’s smile was not something, Claire suddenly felt, that ought to have a whole lot of onlookers, so she busied herself taking down plates. None of them matched, since she and Eve had gone garage-sale shopping a few times and picked up whatever chipped, unwanted items people sold for under a quarter. It was kind of a mess, but she loved it anyway.
Oh, now Eve and Michael were kissing. A lot. And it went on a while. That was cute, and embarrassing, and Claire busied herself by opening up the can of frosting and stirring it around with a knife to get it soft and spreadable.
Finally, Michael left, and Eve sank back against the counter with a rich pink blush all over her cheeks. Her lips looked damp and just as rosy. “Well,” she said, and handed Claire the bag of crushed cookies. “Never let anybody tell you married life isn’t fun.”
“Okay. And what are we doing with, ah, cookie dirt?”
“We’re making our lopsided cake work for us.” Eve threw her an evil grin. “Trust me.”
The weird thing was it did work. Cookie dirt on top of a vanilla icing bed, green army men posed on a battlefield, and a somewhat battered King Kong action figure defending his position at the top of Cake Hill. Eve had stuck a sparkler in Kong’s upraised fist, and the lighter lay ready beside it, and Claire had figured Shane would be home by then, but he wasn’t.
In fact, he didn’t come home before dusk. Or after it, when night fell harsh and black on Morganville. Shane knew better than to be out after dark. He didn’t even have his car, since it was kind of a time-share deal with Rad the mechanic and tonight wasn’t Shane’s scheduled evening to drive.
Nobody voiced any concerns, but Claire watched the door anxiously, and she realized that Eve and Michael, for all their studied nonchalance, were doing the same. When the clock ticked over to nine p.m. Michael finally said, quietly, “Okay. I’m going out looking.”
Claire breathed a shaky sigh of relief. “Thanks,” she said. “I’ll go – “
“No,” he said. “Just me.”
“Why?” Eve glared at him and crossed her arms. “Look, you’re not leaving either of us behind. Trust me.”
He’s afraid of what he’s going to find, Claire thought, and felt a rush of dread. Then anger. Then more dread. “We’re going,” she said, and tried to sound calm about it. “Look, I didn’t spend an hour arranging army guys on a cake just to have the birthday boy blow off his party.”
“He’s fine,” Eve said. “It’s Shane. He’s always fine.”
Until, Claire thought, he wasn’t.
Shane wasn’t in any of the few places they tried – he hadn’t been seen at his favorite burger place, or talking to Rad at the mechanic’s shop. He wasn’t at the gun and knife store, or the pawn shop.
And he wasn’t at the police department, so the last stop was the emergency room. Morganville Hospital was a smallish building, block 1970s construction, no charm or grace to it at all, but it did what it was supposed to do. No Shane in the waiting room, though. As the nurse flipped through the short list of those who’d come in during the evening, she said, “Well, I don’t see him here. Unless he was in that awful wreck.”
Claire felt herself go still inside, and heard Michael say, “What wreck?”
“Just near the city limits,” she said. “Two cars were drag racing out there near the old Rollins place and one of them must have busted a tire, they crashed and there was an awful fireball. Anyway, there are some bodies, but nobody’s sorted it all out yet. Took them a good hour and half just to let the metal cool off enough to get into it.”
Claire didn’t even realized she was wavering on her feet until she felt Eve’s hand under her arm, steadying her; she sent her friend a grateful, wordless look. “It’s not him,” Eve said, in a voice too confident to be quite real. “He doesn’t street race. And his car was back at the shop anyway.”
“Oh, well then, I haven’t got anyone who fits your description,” the nurse said. “Sorry. But you want me to call if he turns up?”
“Sure,” Eve said, and wrote down her cell number. Claire felt shaky, as if she’d been standing on the edge of a cliff. What if – what if somehow he had been driving? What if he was tangled up in wreckage out there? How could she live with that?
Eve firmly guided her through the silent emergency room – there was only one drunk sleeping it off in the corner, bundled up in a blue blanket – and out to Michael’s vampire-tinted sedan. Claire climbed into the back seat without protest, mainly because it was only good sense to not hang around in the dark even if you were vampire-escorted; Eve took shotgun, and Michael of course drove, since he was the only one capable of seeing through the dark windows.
Six blocks away, he suddenly braked to a halt. “Stay here,” he said, and before Claire could muster up a “Why?” he was out of the car and gone.
Eve said nothing. She reached over and rolled down the driver’s side window and peered out.
“Well?” Claire tried to slither over the seat. “What is it?”
“I – “ Eve had the oddest look on her face. “I’m not exactly – “ And then she busted out laughing, so hard that she nearly banged her head on the dash as she doubled over. “Oh,” she finally gasped, “oh, that’s classic. Classic.”
“What is going on?”
“He’s having a party,” Eve said. “And I’m guessing he really doesn’t want to.”
She got out before Claire could ask for details, and so she followed. Within a second or two she finally spotted what both Michael and Eve had before her: Shane, sitting calmly but woodenly at a table inside of Common Grounds, with a ridiculous little pointy hat on his head and a tiny little violently pink cupcake with a huge candle in it sitting in front of him. And sitting across the table from him, glaring death, was Myrnin.
Claire’s boss looked almost normal for a change – a pair of blue jeans, a white shirt, a brocade vest open over it. As she entered the door of the coffee shop, she glanced at his feet. Normal-type boots, even.
Except for the manic, murderous stare, he looked sane.
“What’s – going on?” she asked slowly. Michael and Eve were standing with her, heads cocked to the side, considering the tableau. Neither Myrnin nor Shane responded, though. Shane’s cheeks were crimson, and his hands were fisted in what did not look like birthday joy.
“Leave them,” said a rich, commanding voice from the behind the bar. It was Amelie, leaning on the wood, smiling; she had her hair down in a white-gold wave, and her eyes were glittering. Oliver had one arm draped over her shoulder in as casual – and proprietary – a pose as Claire had ever seen from him. “Myrnin lost a bet. And now he must be gracious to the boy.”
“The boy,” Shane said through clenched teeth, “does not want him to be gracious.”
“Eat the cupcake,” Myrnin said.
“Hell no. It’s pink.”
“I’m told that pink is not a flavor. Eat it and we can both be released from this … hell of cake.”
Shane looked up and focused on Claire. His eyes were glittering with fury, but they were pleading. “Okay, it was funny at first, but now it’s just stupid. Get me out of here.”
He tried to get up, but in the next second, Oliver was around the bar, putting a hand on Shane’s shoulder and slamming him butt-down in the chair, again. Claire had the feeling this had already happened a lot.
“You,” Oliver said, leaning forward and almost touching his lips to Shane’s ear, “will be gracious, too. The Founder wishes to see everyone getting along.”
“Bite me,” Shane said. Growled, really. “Not eating the damn cupcake!”
The candle – it must have been a fresh one, Claire realized – guttered out in the rush of his breath, and Myrnin leaned back, hands folding on his chest with a resigned sigh. “Well,” he said, “now you simply must eat it. You’ve already blown out the candle.”
“I’m going to murder someone,” Shane said. “Probably the person who made this girly pink.”
Amelie laughed. It was a low, amused, intoxicated sound, and it sent shivers up Claire’s spine. She was used to the old, buttoned-up Amelie. Amelie with her hair down, hanging on Oliver, was a whole different thing. “Eat the cake,” she said. “And let us be done with this. I’m bored.”
“The Founder’s bored, boy,” Oliver said. “Eat the cake, or become the entertainment.”
Shane wasn’t going to, Claire realized. He wasn’t going to play.
Eve must have realized it too. She walked forward, plucked the candle out of the cupcake, peeled the wrapper off the dessert, and took a big, mushy bite. “Mmmm,” she said. “Yummy. Don’t know what you’re missing, birthday boy.” She winked at him. It all looked very casual and cool, but Claire could see the tension in her. She was doing something risky, and she knew it.
Amelie laughed again. “Well,” she said. “At least someone knows how to celebrate properly. Very well, fun’s over. Myrnin, your penance is completed.”
He stood up and nodded. He was pale with fury, too – as angry as Shane, Claire realized. They’d both been forced into this. It looked harmless, as harmless as a pink cupcake and a pointy birthday hat.
But from the glitter in Amelie’s eyes, and the cruel smile on Oliver’s lips, it was anything but. It was cats, playing with squeaking little mice.
Myrnin was gone in a flash, not even glancing Claire’s way. Shane put his arm around her, bent close and said, “Get me out of here before I do something stupid.”
“You’re four hours late to your party, man,” Michael said. “I think the stupid ship’s sailed.” But he watched Oliver and Amelie with great care, Claire saw, as the four of them hustled it out to the sedan parked across the street.
It was a quiet drive home, mostly. Claire tried, tentatively, to ask how his day had been, but Shane pointed out that she’d pretty much seen the highlight, so she shut it.
The cake did look fantastic, though. There were photos. Shane cut into the thing, groaned at the sight of the chocolate cake beneath the vanilla frosting, but he took a piece – the King Kong piece – and ate it anyway. Michael gave him a present of a set of silver-coated throwing stars, which Shane greatly admired until Eve sharply reminded him they were not for home use, except in emergencies; Eve’s present was a t-shirt with an insulting graphic on it, of course. Claire saved her present for last.
He unwrapped it and raised his eyebrows. “A book,” he said.
“It’s a how-to book,” she said, “on how to kill zombies. But there’s a chapter at the end on vampires, too. Oh, and mummies, but we don’t see a whole lot of those around here.”
“Useful,” he said, and started to put it aside. Then he frowned and flipped through it.
There was a marker in the middle, and he pulled it out – a man’s silver bracelet. In the middle were engraved his initials. He turned it in the light, admiring it, then put it on and reached out for her hand to pull her closer. She got a kiss, a long, sweet one, and he brushed her hair back as he whispered, “I love you.”
“Happy birthday,” she said. “And next time? Eat the stupid cupcake.”